Clinic-to-home conversion plan prompts concern over high street

The former Bliss clinic in Cattle Market Street. Pictured inset is Bob Bowles

The former Bliss clinic in Cattle Market Street. Pictured inset is Bob Bowles, an administrator for Medic China which has also left the city centre - Credit: Google Maps/Bob Bowles

A growing trend of health and wellbeing sites moving out of Norwich looks to be continuing as plans have been submitted to convert a clinic into a home.

Norwich City Council has received a planning application proposing to change the former Bliss body shaping clinic in Cattle Market Street into housing.

The building is not listed but it is located within the city centre conservation area and is currently vacant, according to planning documents.

Wilkinson Planning has prepared the application on behalf of Ipswich-based development company Witnesham Ventures. 

The former Bliss clinic in Cattle Market Street 

The former Bliss clinic in Cattle Market Street - Credit: Google Maps

Jack Wilkinson, director of Wilkinson Planning, said: "The application is in its infancy and I am not prepared to comment at this time."

The proposal has sparked questions over the changing nature of the high street.

City councillor Martin Schmierer (Green), who represents the Mancroft ward, said: "It does not surprise me as it is a way for developers to make money.

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"Generally I would like to think these can be owner occupied rather than benefitting the landlord where a tenant might struggle to pay.

"We need to reassess the viability of businesses and the high street.

"I think the move to experiences and leisure rather than business and retail will accelerate but we can't give up on town centres." 

Cattle Market Street, Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Cattle Market Street, Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

An example of another clinic which has recently moved out of the city centre in the post-Covid climate is Medic China which was previously located in Castle Meadow.

The business is now home-based after its lease terminated in September and Bob Bowles, an administrator for Medic China, said the move has been worthwhile.

Mr Bowles added: "Covid had completely destroyed all walk-in trade. We struggled with the government grants to pay the rents.

"We decided to get out to reduce our overheads. Working from home means we do not have to pay rents and rates. 

"A lot of customers actually appreciate not having to worry about parking in the city anymore." 

Bob Bowles, an administrator for Medic China in Norwich

Bob Bowles, an administrator for Medic China in Norwich - Credit: Medic China

The change of use application for the former Bliss site will be considered by the city council in due course.